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COMPLAINTS POLICY

Complaints Policy (Draft for consultation April 08 to Governors)

SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL

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COMPLAINTS POLICY

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MONITORING & EVALUATION POLICY RATIONALE 'The governing body is required by the Education Act 2002 to have a policy for dealing with parents' complaints. The school’s complaints policy allows parents’ complaints about school issues to be dealt with efficiently and sensitively, and at the appropriate level. Complaints can cover a wide variety of matters that concern parents. The school expects ALL parental complaints to be taken seriously and to be dealt with comprehensively and as far as possible in confidence.

AIMS The policy aims to ensure that all complaints from parents, pupils and others are dealt with as quickly and sensitively as possible, and by the person best able to do so. As far as possible all concerns should be dealt with as informally as possible. A parent, pupil or other complainant should be able to expect to have a response, even if not the final response, to their complaint some form of contact should take place within 24 hours of having made the complaint. If parents, pupils or other complainants wish to register a formal complaint they should be asked to complete the school’s Formal Complaint Form and return it to the Complaints Co-ordinator. The procedures must be published under arrangements made by the Head and approved by the GB.

TYPES OF CONCERN AND COMPLAINTS The majority of complaints received by the school fall into the following categories: •

financial and administrative

academic (course programme, unsatisfactory teaching, too much/too little homework, progress in a particular subject etc)

pastoral (discipline/indiscipline, inappropriate sanctions, bullying, overall progress of the child, unhappiness of child etc)

child protection (allegations against staff, handling of sensitive issues)

Internal Assessment

SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL


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FORMAL PROCEDURE Stage 1

complaint heard by staff member (who is not subject of the complaint)

Stage 2

complaint heard by Head/Deputy Head

Stage 3

complaint heard by GB’s complaints appeals panel

RESPONSIBILITIES Governing Body: for approving the policy, procedures, and guidelines, hearing and deciding on appeals, receiving reports, and advising the Head. The GB will monitor the level and nature of complaints and review the outcomes at termly meetings. Chair of the GB: to receive complaints at Stage 3, (see p5) to nominate a governor or panel to hear the appeal, and to check that the correct procedure is followed.

NOMINATED GOVERNOR OR CHAIR OF THE PANEL AT STAGE 3 To ensure that: •

the parties understand the procedure

the issues are addressed

key findings of fact are established

complainants are put at ease

the hearing is conducted as informally as possible

the panel is open-minded and acts independently

no member of the panel has a vested interest in the outcome, or has been involved in the issues previously

all parties have the chance to be heard

any written material is seen by all parties

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CLERK TO THE GOVERNING BODY The Clerk must act as the reference point for the complainant at Stage 3. The Clerk must: •

set convenient dates and times and venues for hearings

collate any written material and forward it to the parties

meet and welcome the parties

record the proceedings

notify the parties of the decision

Head and Deputies: for the overall internal management of the procedures, for hearing complaints at the second stage (see below), ensuring that the procedures are monitored and reviewed and termly reports made to the GB. Head of Support Services: for the efficient operation and management of the policy and procedures, for training staff on how to deal appropriately with complaints, for keeping parents, pupils and others informed of the procedures, and for compiling reports for the Head as required. Head of Support Services: for administrative, environmental and financial queries and complaints Learning Managers: for dealing with and where possible resolving complaints about academic matters/programmes of study/teaching methods at stage 1 of the procedures. (Where the LEARNING MANAGER is the subject of the complaint the complaint would be dealt with by the relevant deputy) Student Support or Transition Manager: for dealing with and where possible resolving complaints concerning overall pupil progress, discipline issues, pastoral care. Where the Student Support/Transition Manager is the subject of the complaint the complaint would be dealt with by the relevant deputy) Assessment and Examinations Manager: for dealing with complaint about procedures in the producing of internally assessed marks for submission to examination boards and awarding bodies. Named Senior Member of Staff: for child protection issues. All staff: for hearing any concerns brought to them by parents and pupils and reassuring them that the will be dealt with as soon as possible by the appropriate member of staff, and for informing the relevant staff of the concerns. And for passing any complaints received from other people who are not parents or pupils to the complaints coordinator.

SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL


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GUIDELINES All staff and governors should be conversant with the procedures.

STAGE 1 All staff should listen carefully and patiently to parents’ and students complaints. If the matter is within the competence of the member of staff to resolve quickly this should be done. Otherwise the complainant should be reassured that the complaint will be passed to the relevant member of staff, and the relevant person should be informed by the member of staff as soon as possible. The member of staff receiving the complaint should use the school’s ‘Complaints Form’ to inform the relevant senior member of staff. But this does not prevent the member of staff also speaking to the senior colleague about the matter at the earliest opportunity. If the senior member of staff considers the issue to be serious (but is not a child protection issue) he/she should inform the Coordinator (or Head) via the school’s ‘Complaints Form’, and inform the complainant of the action taken. The Headteacher will determine the next step(s). If the Coordinator or a relevant senior member of staff considers that he/she can deal with the complaint he/she should attempt to do so. If a resolution cannot be found the Co-ordinator should inform the complainant of their right of appeal to the Head (Stage 2) or GB (Stage 3), and inform the Head/GB of the action taken. If the complaint concerns a student protection issue or involves an allegation of abuse by a member of the school staff the ‘named person responsible for child protection complaint should be informed by the Co-ordinator). If a serious complaint is made by a student, the member of staff should immediately inform the Co-ordinator, who will immediately inform the pupil’s tutor . It will be the responsibility of the Student Support/Transition Manager to determine whether he/she can deal with the issue, or in consultation with the Co-ordinator, what the next course of action should be, including referring the matter to the Head. If a verbal complaint is made it might be possible in most cases to resolve it immediately. In more serious cases, or where a member of staff is uncertain, parents should always be asked to put their complaint in writing. This is to ensure that there is no conflict in determining what the complaint consists of and the action taken by the members of the school staff. In any cases of doubt members of staff should seek the advice of the (Coordinator/Deputy Head) who has the responsibility for mentoring colleagues. If the appropriate member of staff cannot resolve the complaint, the Coordinator must refer the matter to the Head (Stage 2). SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL


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At Stage 1 the school should aim to resolve the complaint within 24 hours of receiving it. Where this is not possible, the Co-ordinator will inform the parties of the action being taken, and when it is expected to resolve it. No complaint should normally be left unresolved at this stage after THREE days of receipt of the complaint. In abnormal circumstances the matter will be referred to the Head who will determine the appropriate action, and will keep the parties informed.

STAGE 2 The Head will decide the outcome at this stage, but may delegate the collating of information to the Co-ordinator. The Head must normally resolve the matter within THREE days of receiving notification of the complaint. In abnormal circumstances a longer time scale can be agreed, either by agreement with all parties, or by a decision of the Chair of the GB if no agreement is reached. If the Head is unable to resolve the issue it is open to the complainant to make representations to the governing body. (Stage 3)

STAGE 3 Appeals to the Governing Body Complainants who are not satisfied by the Head’s decision re the complaint can make representations to the governing body. The complainant must be advised by the Co-ordinator to write to the chair of the GB giving details of the complaint. The Chair will nominate a governor (or panel) to hear the appeal. The hearing must be within 10 days of the Chair receiving notice of the complaint. The complainant must be told of their right to be accompanied by a friend, and where relevant translations/interpreters must be arranged by the Clerk consultation with the parties. The nominated governor/panel will make its own procedures, and will agree these with the Chair, who will report them to the next governing body meeting. The governor/panel will ensure that the complainant is heard in private, is welcomed, and as far as possible is put at ease. Careful consideration must be taken when the complainant is a pupil. The governor/panel will hear the appeal(s), consider all the views expressed and decide the outcome.

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The governor/panel can: • • • •

dismiss the complaint in whole or part uphold the complaint in whole or part decide on appropriate action to resolve the complaint recommend changes to the school’s systems or procedures

REPORTING AND RECORDING In all cases it is important for staff to use the school’s ‘Complaints Form’ so that records of the complaint and the action taken can be recorded and traced. Supporting documents should be attached to the form. The Head and Complaints Co-ordinator will consider the handling of complaints from time to time, and will discuss issues with staff as necessary. The Head will report to staff from time to time, and to the GB each term on the number and type of complaints received and their outcomes.

Appendix1 Information for candidates on appeals or complaints relating to internal assessment. If at any stage during your examination course you have concerns about assessing your internally marked work for public examinations (eg coursework/portfolio projects)

You should: Firstly raise the matter with the relevant Learning Manager Maths Languages (inc English) Science Humanities ICT Expressive Arts Technology If you are still unhappy with the procedures used you should make a formal complaint in writing to the Assessment and Examinations Officer, at least 2 weeks before the final external examination in that subject. If the Assessment and Examinations Officer is unable to resolve the issue he will arrange an appeal with the headteacher and a deputy. SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL


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You will be allowed to bring your parents/carer or a friend to the appeal. You will be given access to the following: •

Marks awarded by the centre for an internal assessment

All comments recorded by the centre relating to their internally assessed work

Any correspondence between the centre and the Awarding Body relating to their internally assessed work

Information, if available at the time of the appeal, as to whether their work was sampled by the Awarding Body

The moderated mark given to the work by the Awarding Body, if known

Relevant Awarding Body procedures for the conduct of internal assessments

SOUTH SHIELDS COMMUNITY SCHOOL


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